This post takes us to inside the cab where we have fabricated a few custom pieces for the interior of the Chevy cab. This post will cover how we created the windshield defrost vents, cab vents, and duct housing, followed by the shifter housing build.
First, we show you how to accomplish custom metal work with the aid of simple tooling from the scrap bin. This kind of tooling is invaluable when performing automotive restoration, whether going for custom made creations or original body styling. Not only is the tooling going to be simple to make, it’s going to be super cheap! The example job is making a pair of windshield defroster/heater vents for our 1938 Chevrolet Pepsi truck dashboard.
Into the scrap bin we delve. We are looking for a certain type of material, mild steel no more than 1/4″ in thickness and that can be clamped with a bench vise. The perfect fit is a 4″ by 1/4″ thick angle iron. Length wise we’re looking for something 2″ longer each side of the overall vent length for clamping purposes.
Next up, is marking out the cut lines on the angle iron that will eventually form the ‘roof’ of the air vent. Once marked then cut using a 1/16″ cut off wheel, keeping the line as straight as possible, followed by hammering this section down, and welding the ends to form the roof of the vent. We are essentially forming the vent upside down.
The picture shows our blank piece of mild steel marked with one cut line. The blank is then lined up and clamped into position. To actually form the vent mouth, we use hand made nylon chasers. These tools chase the material down into the depth of the tooling until bottoming out. Unclamp the material, and we have one custom made vent section ready to graft in our factory dashboard.
‘Jig chasing’new sheet metal material into the jig.
Beginning to graft in the new pair of vents into the top of the original Chevy dash.
TIG welded in and metal finished.
Front view (without the windshield in place) of the installed vents.
Side view showing the vent opening.
Fabricating the unseen parts of the defrost vents for the interior of the 38 Chevrolet
Up next is the AC/ heater pods that will be again custom built and located between the body dash wall and the underneath of the dashboard panel. Clearance of each housing is the biggest issue, so check out the photos of the build process.
Figuring out the size and shape of the inner vent housing that will sit under the dash (unseen) and connect the vents to the piping of the AC/heater unit.
Fabricating the vent housing.
We need a set, so making an identical one.
Test fitting, followed by placing the dash over the top to check for any clearance issues.
The whole apparatus hooked up, view from under the dash.
Cab heater vent housings
Next, we take care of the AC/heater cab vents located under the dash along side the inner ‘A’ post structure. Designed and built to flow with the style of the dash and fit off the shelf vents from Southern Air.
Making the AC/Heater vent housings: planning out the pattern and using simple wooden jig.
Clamped up during the jig chasing process.
Again, we will have a pair, one for each side of the cab. You can see how the piping will attach to the rear side.
Overall look, although since this photo we decided to set the vents back a touch.
A view of the cab AC/heater vents in paint!
Custom floor shifter housing for Chevy truck
Planning to make the custom shifter housing. Face plate with illuminated transmission settings supplied, which defines our final shape.
Creating the raised depression in the floor that will house the hardware to attach the custom shifter pod.
TIG welded together.
Test assembly with the face plate and screwed down.
Overall interior look with all the components created in this post. A subtle custom look!
This is part thirteen of a series of posts on this highly custom 1938 Chevrolet Truck restoration, in post one we introduce you to the project and the custom features to be fabricated. In post two, we look at the individual truck parts that make up the front end build. In post three, we cover the chassis build and drip rail removal. In post four, we show you the process of metal finishing the fenders. Post five takes us through the panel restoration of the original inner grille housing panel and a custom touch of deleting the cowl vent panel. Post six takes care of the lower cowl metal and left hand front fender. Post seven covers the toe board panel, door lock upgrades, and mainly the upgrades to the inner fender support panel; this panel has to be heavily modified to take the new location of the hood side panels. Post eight looks at how the custom hood was created to open by pulling forward instead of the original butterfly design. Post nine covers the rest of the custom hood, which involves completion of the skin, and design and fabrication of the inner structure. Post ten shows the firewall modifications. Post eleven shows how the panel below the grille, ‘grille chin’ panel was fabricated from scratch due to bad damage. Post twelve shows one of the steps we took to customize the interior: adding the AC/heater control knobs to the dashboard!